^*4%^ G 1 i *1 lit Tern mm '■fm LIBRIS 1 t II jK Armand J. Courtemanche 1 Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2013 http://archive.org/details/tentonbeachdramaOOwhit THE TENT ON THE BEACH AND DRAMATIC LYRICS 31Uus;trateD So passed the Quakers through Boston town (page 102) THE TENT ON THE BEACH AND DRAMATIC LYRICS BY JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER WITH ILLUSTRATIONS FROM DESIGNS BY CHARLES H. WOODBURY AND MARCIA O. WOODBURY OU ftJEW BOSTON AND NEW YORK HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY COPYRIGHT, 1899, BY HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED NOTE THE simple device which Mr. Whittier em- ployed for framing some of his most char- acteristic pictures in verse of life and nature is in itself a delightful sketch of human companionship. This poetical picnic is but slightly removed from actual fact, and more than one poem of Mr. Whit- tier's is reminiscent of gatherings in the summer at Hampton or Salisbury Beach. The group of friends, the great background of ocean and stretches of gray sand at once suggest tableaux vivants, and there is the added charm, as of a play within a play, when we have the figures in the scene themselves projecting new scenes and dramatic incidents upon the screen. The whole conception is so pictorial that it is most natural for two artists, working to- gether, to reflect some of these images in the mirror of their art, and Mr. and Mrs. Woodbury have thus added their grace to the poet's invention. The poems which have been added are such as might easily have been told had the poet and his friends pitched their tent again, or been a little more reluctant to strike it at the close of their holiday. CONTENTS THE TENT ON THE BEACH THE WRECK OF RIVERMOUTH . THE GRAVE BY THE LAKE THE BROTHER OF MERCY THE CHANGELING . THE MAIDS OF ATTITASH KALLUNDBORG CHURCH . THE CABLE HYMN THE DEAD SHIP OF HARPSWELL THE PALATINE . ABRAHAM DAVENPORT THE WORSHIP OF NATURE . THE EXILES .... BARCLAY OF URY THE KING'S MISSIVE . HOW THE WOMEN WENT DOVER . FROM i 12 20 33 37 42 48 53 56 59 65 69 73 87 95 103 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS PAGE So passed the Quakers through Boston town (page 102) . . . . Frontispiece Pitched their white tent where sea-winds blew 4 " Oho ! " she muttered, " ye 're brave today ! " 14 Deepest of all mysteries, And the saddest, silence is 24 " Lead her out of this evil shadow, Out of these fancies wild" . . 38 In the shadow of the ash .... 42 Now the church was wellnigh done . 50 The ghost of what was once a ship . . 56 Thev burned the wreck of the Palatine . 62 "Let God do His work, we will see to ours" 68 "I go, as to the slaughter led" ... 80 Into the forest they held their way . 106 THE TENT ON THE BEACH It can scarcely be necessary to name as the two companions whom I reckoned with myself in this poetical picnic, Fields the lettered magnate, and Taylor the free cosmopolite. The long line of sandy beach which defines almost the whole of the New Hampshire sea-coast is especially marked near its southern extremity by the salt-meadows of Hampton. The Hampton River winds through these meadows, and the reader may, if he choose, imagine my tent pitched near its mouth, where also was the scene of the Wreck of River mouth* The green bluff to the northward is Great Boar's Head; southward is the Merrimac, with New- buryport lifting its steeples above brown roofs and green trees on its banks. [Mr. Whittier origi- nally designed following the Decameron method and feigning that each person read his own poem, but abandoned it as too hackneyed.] THE TENT ON THE BEACH I WOULD not sin, in this half-playful strain, — Too light perhaps for serious years, though born Of the enforced leisure of slow pain, — Against the pure ideal which has drawn My feet to follow its far-shining gleam. A simple plot is mine.: legends and runes Of credulous days, old fancies that have lain Silent from boyhood taking voice again, Warmed into life once more, even as the tunes That, frozen in the fabled hunting-horn, Thawed into sound : — a winter fireside dream Of dawns and sunsets by the summer sea, Whose sands are traversed by a silent throng Of voyagers from that vaster mystery Of which it is an emblem; — and the dear Memory of one who might have tuned my song To sweeter music by her delicate ear. When heats as of a tropic clime Burned all our inland valleys through, Three friends, the guests of summer time, Pitched their white tent where sea-winds blew. 4 THE TENT ON THE BEACH Behind them, marshes, seamed and crossed With narrow creeks, and flower-embossed, Stretched to the dark oak wood, whose leafy arms Screened from the stormy East the pleasant inland farms. At full of tide their bolder shore Of sun-bleached sand the waters beat ; At ebb, a smooth and glistening floor They touched with light, receding feet. Northward a green bluff broke the chain Of sand-hills ; southward stretched a plain Of salt grass, with a river winding down, Sail-whitened, and beyond the steeples of the town, — Whence sometimes, when the wind was light And dull the thunder of the beach, They heard the bells of morn and night Swing, miles away, their silver speech. Above low scarp and turf-grown wall They saw the fort-flag rise and fall ; And, the first star to signal twilight's hour, The lamp-fire glimmer down from the tall light- house tower. They rested there, escaped awhile From cares that wear the life away, Pitched their tent where sea-winds blew THE TENT ON THE BEACH 5 To eat the lotus of the Nile And drink the poppies of Cathay, — To fling their loads of custom down, Like drift-weed, on the sand-slopes brown, And in the sea-waves drown the restless pack Of duties, claims, and needs that barked upon their track. One, with his beard scarce silvered, bore A ready credence in his looks, A lettered magnate, lording o'er An ever-widening realm of books. In him brain-currents, near and far, Converged as in a Leyden jar ; The old, dead authors thronged him round about, And Elzevir's gray ghosts from leathern graves looked out. He knew each living pundit well, Could weigh the gifts of him or her, And well the market value tell Of poet and philosopher. But if he lost, the scenes behind, Somewhat of reverence vague and blind, Finding the actors human at the best, No readier lips than his the good he saw con- fessed. 6 THE TENT ON THE BEACH His boyhood fancies not outgrown, He loved himself the singer's art ; Tenderly, gently, by his own He knew and judged an author's heart. No Rhadamanthine brow of doom Bowed the dazed pedant from his room ; And bards, whose name is legion, if denied, Bore off alike intact their verses and their pride. Pleasant it was to roam about The lettered world as he had done, And see the lords of song without Their singing robes and garlands on. With Wordsworth paddle Rydal mere, Taste rugged Elliott's home-brewed beer, And with the ears of Rogers, at fourscore, Hear Garrick's buskined tread and Walpole's wit once more. And one there was, a dreamer born, Who, with a mission to fulfil, Had left the Muses' haunts to turn The crank of an opinion-mill, Making his rustic reed of song A weapon in the war with wrong, Yoking his fancy to the breaking-plough That beam-deep turned the soil for truth to spring and grow. THE TENT ON THE BEACH 7 Too quiet seemed the man to ride The winged Hippogriff Reform ; Was his a voice from side to side To pierce the tumult of the storm ? A silent, shy, peace-loving man, He seemed no fiery partisan To hold his way against the public frown, The ban of Church and State, the fierce mob's hounding down. For while he wrought with strenuous will The work his hands had found to do, He heard the fitful music still Of winds that out of dream-land blew. The din about him could not drown What the strange voices whispered down ; Along his task-field weird processions swept, The visionary pomp of stately phantoms stepped. The common air was thick with dreams, — He told them to the toiling crowd ; Such music as the woods and streams Sang in his ear he sang aloud ; In still, shut bays, on windy capes, He heard the call of beckoning shapes, And, as the gray old shadows prompted him, To homely moulds of rhyme he shaped their legends grim. 8 THE TENT ON THE BEACH He rested now his weary hands, And lightly moralized and laughed, As, tracing on the shifting sands A burlesque of his paper-craft, He saw the careless waves o'errun His words, as time before had done, Each day's tide-water washing clean away, Like letters from the sand, the work of yesterday. And one, whose Arab face was tanned By tropic sun and boreal frost, So travelled there was scarce a land Or people left him to exhaust, In idling mood had from him hurled The poor squeezed orange of the world, And in the tent-shade, sat beneath a palm, Smoked, cross - legged like a Turk, in Oriental calm. The very waves that washed the sand Below him, he had seen before Whitening the Scandinavian strand And sultry Mauritanian shore. From ice-rimmed isles, from summer seas Palm-fringed, they bore him messages ; He heard the plaintive Nubian songs again, And mule-bells tinkling down the mountain-paths of Spain. THE TENT ON THE BEACH 9 His memory round the ransacked earth On Puck's long girdle slid at ease ; And, instant, to the valley's girth Of mountains, spice isles of the seas, Faith flowered in minster stones, Art's guess At truth and beauty, found access ; Yet loved the while, that free cosmopolite, Old friends, old ways, and kept his boyhood's dreams in sight. Untouched as yet by wealth and pride, That virgin innocence of beach : No shingly monster, hundred-eyed, Stared its gray sand-birds out of reach ; Unhoused, save where, at intervals, The white tents showed their canvas walls, Where brief sojourners, in the cool, soft air, Forgot their inland heats, hard toil, and year-long care. Sometimes along the wheel-deep sand A one-horse wagon slowly crawled, Deep laden with a youthful band, Whose look some homestead old recalled ; Brother perchance, and sisters twain, And one whose blue eyes told, more plain Than the free language of her rosy lip, Of the still dearer claim of love's relationship. io THE TENT ON THE BEACH With cheeks of russet-orchard tint, The light laugh of their native rills, The perfume of their garden's mint, The breezy freedom of the hills, They bore, in unrestrained delight, The motto of the Garter's knight, Careless as if from every gazing thing Hid by their innocence, as Gyges by his ring. The clanging sea-fowl came and went, The hunter's gun in the marshes rang ; At nightfall from a neighboring tent A flute-voiced woman sweetly sang. Loose-haired, barefooted, hand-in-hand, Young girls went tripping down the sand ; And youths and maidens, sitting in the moon, Dreamed o'er the old fond dream from which we wake too soon. At times their fishing-lines they plied, With an old Triton at the oap, Salt as the sea-wind, tough and dried As a lean cusk from Labrador. Strange tales he told of wreck and storm, — Had seen the sea-snake's awful form, And heard the ghosts on Haley's Isle complain, Speak him off shore, and beg a passage to old Spain ! THE TENT ON THE BEACH n And there, on breezy morns, they saw The fishing-schooners outward run, Their low-bent sails in tack and flaw Turned white or dark to shade and sun. Sometimes, in calms of closing day, They watched the spectral mirage play, Saw low, far islands looming tall and nigh, And ships, with upturned keels, sail like a sea the sky. Sometimes a cloud, with thunder black, Stooped low upon the darkening main, Piercing the waves along its track With the slant javelins of rain. And when west-wind and sunshine warm Chased out to sea its wrecks of storm, They saw the prismy hues in thin spray showers Where the green buds of waves burst into white froth flowers. And when along the line of shore The mist crept upward chill and damp, Stretched, careless, on their sandy floor Beneath the flaring lantern lamp, They talked of all things old and new, Read, slept, and dreamed as idlers do ; And in the unquestioned freedom of the tent, Body and o'er-taxed mind to healthful ease unbent. 12 THE TENT ON THE BEACH Once, when the sunset splendors died, And, trampling up the sloping sand, In lines outreaching far and wide, The white-maned billows swept to land, Dim seen across the gathering shade, A vast and ghostly cavalcade, They sat around their lighted kerosene, Hearing the deep bass roar their every pause be- tween. Then, urged thereto, the Editor Within his full portfolio dipped, Feigning excuse while searching for (With secret pride) his manuscript. His pale face flushed from eye to beard, With nervous cough his throat he cleared, And, in a voice so tremulous it betrayed The anxious fondness of an author's heart, he read : THE WRECK OF RIVERMOUTH Rivermouth Rocks are fair to see, By dawn or sunset shone across, When the ebb of the sea has left them free To dry their fringes of gold-green moss : For there the river comes winding down, From salt sea-meadows and uplands brown, THE WRECK OF RIVERMOUTH 13 And waves on the outer rocks afoam Shout to its waters, "Welcome home ! " And fair are the sunny isles in view East of the grisly Head of the Boar, And Agamenticus lifts its blue Disk of a cloud the woodlands o'er; And southerly, when the tide is down, 'Twixt white sea-waves and sand-hills brown, The beach-birds dance and the gray gulls wheel Over a floor of burnished steel. Once, in the old Colonial days, Two hundred years ago and more, A boat sailed down through the winding ways Of Hampton River to that low shore, Full of a goodly company Sailing out on the summer sea, Veering to catch the land-breeze light, With the Boar to left and the Rocks to right. In Hampton meadows, where mowers laid Their scythes to the swaths of salted grass, " Ah, well-a-day ! our hay must be made ! " A young man sighed, who saw them pass. Loud laughed his fellows to see him stand Whetting his scythe with a listless hand, 14 THE TENT ON THE BEACH Hearing a voice in a far-off song, Watching a white hand beckoning long. " Fie on the witch ! " cried a merry girl, As they rounded the point where Goody Cole * Sat by her door with her wheel atwirl, A bent and blear-eyed poor old soul. * The Goody Cole who figures in this poem and The Changeling was Eunice Cole, who for a quarter of a cen- tury or more was feared, persecuted, and hated as the witch of Hampton. She lived alone in a hovel a little distant from the spot where the Hampton Academy now stands, and there she died, unattended. When her death was discovered, she was hastily covered up in the earth near by, and a stake driven through her body, to exorcise the evil spirit. Rev. Stephen Bachiler or Batchelder was one of the ablest of the early New England preachers. His marriage late in life to a woman regarded by his church as disreputable induced him to return to England, where he enjoyed the esteem and favor of Oliver Crom- well during the Protectorate. [When Goody Cole was brought before the Quarter Sessions in 1680 to answer to the charge of being a witch, the court could not find satis- factory evidence of witchcraft, but so strong was the feel- ing against her that Major Waldron, the presiding magis- trate, ordered her to be imprisoned with a lock kept on her leg at the pleasure of the court. In such judicial action one can read the fear and vindictive spirit of the community at large.] " Oho I " she 7nuttered, "ye 're brave to-day ! n THE WRECK OF RIVERMOUTH 15 " Oho ! " she muttered, " ye 're brave to-day ! But I hear the little waves laugh and say, c The broth will be cold that waits at home ; For it 's one to go, but another to come ! ' " " She 's cursed," said the skipper ; " speak her fair : I 'm scary always to see her shake Her wicked head, with its wild gray hair, And nose like a hawk, and eyes like a snake." But merrily still, with laugh and shout, From Hampton River the boat sailed out, Till the huts and the flakes on Star seemed nigh, And they lost the scent of the pines of Rye. They dropped their lines in the lazy tide, Drawing up haddock and mottled cod ; They saw not the Shadow that walked beside, They heard not the feet with silence shod. But thicker and thicker a hot mist grew, Shot by the lightnings through and through; And muffled growls, like the growl of a beast, Ran along the sky from west to east. Then the skipper looked from the darkening sea Up to the dimmed and wading sun ; But he spake like a brave man cheerily, "Yet there is time for our homeward run." 16 THE TENT ON THE BEACH Veering and tacking, they backward wore ; And just as a breath from the woods ashore Blew out to whisper of danger past, The wrath of the storm came down at last! The skipper hauled at the heavy sail : " God be our help ! " he only cried, As the roaring gale, like the stroke of a flail, Smote the boat on its starboard side. The Shoalsmen looked, but saw alone Dark films of rain-cloud slantwise blown, Wild rocks lit up by the lightning's glare, The strife and torment of sea and air. Goody Cole looked out from her door : The Isles of Shoals were drowned and gone, Scarcely she saw the Head of the Boar Toss the foam from tusks of stone. She clasped her hands with a grip of pain, The tear on her cheek was not of rain : " They are lost," she muttered, u boat and crew ! Lord, forgive me ! my words were true ! " Suddenly seaward swept the squall ; The low sun smote through cloudy rack ; The Shoals stood clear in the light, and all The trend of the coast lay hard and black. THE WRECK OF RIVERMOUTH i; But far and wide as eye could reach, No life was seen upon wave or beach ; The boat that went out at morning never Sailed back again into Hampton River. O mower, lean on thy bended snath, Look from the meadows green and low : The wind of the sea is a waft of death, The waves are singing a song of woe ! By silent river, by moaning sea, Long and vain shall thy watching be : Never again shall the sweet voice call, Never the white hand rise and fall ! O Rivermouth Rocks, how sad a sight Ye saw in the light of breaking day ! Dead faces looking up cold and white From sand and seaweed where they lay. The mad old witch-wife wailed and wept, And cursed the tide as it backward crept : " Crawl back, crawl back, blue water-snake ! Leave your dead for the hearts that break ! " Solemn it was in that old day In Hampton town and its log-built church, Where side by side the coffins lay And the mourners stood in aisle and porch. 18 THE TENT ON THE BEACH In the singing-seats young eyes were dim, The voices faltered that raised the hymn, And Father Dalton, grave and stern, Sobbed through his prayer and wept in turn. But his ancient colleague did not pray ; Under the weight of his fourscore years He stood apart with the iron-gray Of his strong brows knitted to hide his tears ; And a fair-faced woman of doubtful fame, Linking her own with his honored name, Subtle as sin, at his side withstood The felt reproach of her neighborhood. Apart with them, like them forbid, Old Goody Cole looked drearily round, As, two by two, with their faces hid, The mourners walked to the burying-ground. She let the staff from her clasped hands fall : " Lord, forgive us ! we 're sinners all ! " And the voice of the old man answered her : " Amen ! " said Father Bachiler. So, as I sat upon Appledore In the calm of a closing summer day, And the broken lines of Hampton shore In purple mist of cloudland lay, THE WRECK OF RIVERMOUTH 19 The Rivermouth Rocks their story told ; And waves aglow with sunset gold, Rising and breaking in steady chime, Beat the rhythm and kept the time. And the sunset paled, and warmed once more With a softer, tenderer after-glow ; In the east was moon-rise, with boats off-shore And sails in the distance drifting slow. The beacon glimmered from Portsmouth bar, The White Isle kindled its great red star ; And life and death in my old-time lay Mingled in peace like the night and day "Well ! " said the Man of Books, "your story Is really not ill told in verse. As the Celt said of purgatory, One might go farther and fare worse." The Reader smiled ; and once again With steadier voice took up his strain, While the fair singer from the neighboring tent Drew near, and at his side a graceful listener bent. 20 THE TENT ON THE BEACH THE GRAVE BY THE LAKE Where the Great Lake's sunny smiles Dimple round its hundred isles, And the mountain's granite ledge Cleaves the water like a wedge, Ringed about with smooth, gray stones, Rest the giant's mighty bones.* Close beside, in shade and gleam, Laughs and ripples Melvin stream ; Melvin water, mountain-born, All fair flowers its banks adorn ; All the woodland voices meet, Mingling with its murmurs sweet. Over lowlands forest-grown, Over waters island-strown, Over silver-sanded beach, Leaf-locked bay and misty reach, Melvin stream and burial-heap, Watch and ward the mountains keep. * At the mouth of the Melvin River, which empties into Moultonboro Bay in Lake Winnipesaukee, is a great mound. The Ossipee Indians had their home in the neighborhood of the bay, which is plentifully stocked with fish, and many relics of their occupation have been found. THE GRAVE BY THE LAKE 21 Who that Titan cromlech fills ? Forest-kaiser, lord o' the hills ? Knight who on the birchen tree Carved his savage heraldry ? Priest o' the pine-wood temples dim, Prophet, sage, or wizard grim ? Rugged type of primal man, Grim utilitarian, Loving woods for hunt and prowl, Lake and hill for fish and fowl, As the brown bear blind and dull To the grand and beautiful : Not for him the lesson drawn From the mountains smit with dawn. Star-rise, moon-rise, flowers of May, Sunset's purple bloom of day, — Took his life no hue from thence, Poor amid such affluence ? Haply unto hill and tree All too near akin was he : Unto him who stands afar Nature's marvels greatest are ; Who the mountain purple seeks Must not climb the higher peaks. 22 THE TENT ON THE BEACH Yet who knows, in winter tramp, Or the midnight of the camp, What revealings faint and far, Stealing down from moon and star, Kindled in that human clod Thought of destiny and God ? Stateliest forest patriarch, Grand in robes of skin and bark, What sepulchral mysteries, What weird funeral-rites, were his ? What sharp wail, what drear lament, Back scared wolf and eagle sent ? Now, whate'er he may have been, Low he lies as other men ; On his mound the partridge drums, There the noisy blue-jay comes ; Rank nor name nor pomp has he In the grave's democracy. Part thy blue lips, Northern lake ! Moss-grown rocks, your silence break ! Tell the tale, thou ancient tree ! Thou, too, slide-worn Ossipee ! Speak, and tell us how and when Lived and died this king of men ! THE GRAVE BY THE LAKE 23 Wordless moans the ancient pine; Lake and mountain give no sign ; Vain to trace this ring of stones ; Vain the search of crumbling bones : Deepest of all mysteries, And the saddest, silence is. Nameless, noteless, clay with clay Mingles slowly day by day ; But somewhere, for good or ill, That dark soul is living still ; Somewhere yet that atom's force Moves the light-poised universe. Strange that on his burial-sod Harebells bloom, and golden-rod, While the soul's dark horoscope Holds no starry sign of hope ! Is the Unseen with sight at odds ? Nature's pity more than God's ? Thus I mused by Melvin's side, While the summer eventide Made the woods and inland sea And the mountains mystery ; And the hush of earth and air Seemed the pause before a prayer, — 24 THE TENT ON THE BEACH Prayer for him, for all who rest, Mother Earth, upon thy breast, — Lapped on Christian turf, or hid In rock-cave or pyramid : All who sleep, as all who live, Well may need the prayer, " Forgive ! " Desert-smothered caravan, Knee-deep dust that once was man, Battle-trenches ghastly piled, Ocean-floors with white bones tiled, Crowded tomb and mounded sod, Dumbly crave that prayer to God. Oh, the generations old Over whom no church-bells tolled, Christless, lifting up blind eyes To the silence of the skies ! For the innumerable dead Is my soul disquieted. Where be now these silent hosts ? Where the camping-ground of ghosts ? Where the spectral conscripts led To the white tents of the dead ? What strange shore or chartless sea Holds the awful mystery ? Deepest of all mysteries \ A nd the saddest, silence is THE GRAVE BY THE LAKE 25 Then the warm sky stooped to make Double sunset in the lake ; While above I saw with it, Range on range, the mountains lit ; And the calm and splendor stole Like an answer to my soul. Hear'st thou, O of little faith, What to thee the mountain saith, What is whispered by the trees ? — " Cast on God thy care for these ; Trust Him, if thy sight be dim : Doubt for them is doubt of Him. " Blind must be their close-shut eyes Where like night the sunshine lies, Fiery-linked the self-forged chain Binding ever sin to pain, Strong their prison-house of will, But without He waiteth still. " Not with hatred's undertow Doth the Love Eternal flow ; Every chain that spirits wear Crumbles in the breath of prayer; And the penitent's desire Opens every gate of fire. 26 THE TENT ON THE BEACH Still Thy love, O Christ arisen, Yearns to reach these souls in prison : Through all depths of sin and loss Drops the plummet of Thy cross ! Never yet abyss was found Deeper than that cross could sound ! " Therefore well may Nature keep Equal faith with all who sleep, Set her watch of hills around Christian grave and heathen mound, And to cairn and kirkyard send Summer's flowery dividend. Keep, O pleasant Melvin stream, Thy sweet laugh in shade and gleam ! On the Indian's grassy tomb Swing, O flowers, your bells of bloom ! Deep below, as high above, Sweeps the circle of God's love. He paused and questioned with his eye The hearers' verdict on his song. A low voice asked : " Is 't well to pry Into the secrets which belong Only to God ? — The life to be Is still the unguessed mystery : THE TENT ON THE BEACH 27 Unsealed, unpierced the cloudy walls remain, We beat with dream and wish the soundless doors in vain. " But faith beyond our sight may go." He said : " The gracious Fatherhood Can only know above, below, Eternal purposes of good. From our free heritage of will, The bitter springs of pain and ill Flow only in all worlds. The perfect day Of God is shadowless, and love is love alway." " I know," she said, " the letter kills ; That on our arid fields of strife And heat of clashing texts distils The dew of spirit and of life. But, searching still the written Word, I fain would find, Thus saith the Lord, A voucher for the hope I also feel That sin can give no wound beyond love's power to heal. ,, " Pray," said the Man of Books, "give o'er A theme too vast for time and place. Go on, Sir Poet, ride once more Your hobby at his old free pace. 28 THE TENT ON THE BEACH But let him keep, with step discreet, The solid earth beneath his feet. In the great mystery which around us lies, The wisest is a fool, the fool Heaven-helped is wise." The Traveller said : " If songs have creeds, Their choice of them let singers make ; But Art no other sanction needs Than beauty for its own fair sake. It grinds not in the mill of use, Nor asks for leave, nor begs excuse ; It makes the flexile laws it deigns to own, And gives its atmosphere its color and its tone. " Confess, old friend, your austere school Has left your fancy little chance ; You square to reason's rigid rule The flowing outlines of romance. With conscience keen from exercise, And chronic fear of compromise, You check the free play of your rhymes, to clap A moral underneath, and spring it like a trap." The sweet voice answered: "Better so Than bolder flights that know no check ; Better to use the bit, than throw The reins all loose on fancy's neck. THE TENT ON THE BEACH 29 The liberal range of Art should be The breadth of Christian liberty, Restrained alone by challenge and alarm Where its charmed footsteps tread the border land of harm. u Beyond the poet's sweet dream lives The eternal epic of the man. He wisest is who only gives, True to himself, the best he can ; Who, drifting in the winds of praise, The inward monitor obeys ; And, with the boldness that confesses fear, Takes in the crowded sail, and lets his conscience steer. " Thanks for the fitting word he speaks, Nor less for doubtful word unspoken, For the false model that he breaks, As for the moulded grace unbroken ; For what is missed and what remains, For losses which are truest gains, For reverence conscious of the Eternal eye, And truth too fair to need the garnish of a lie." Laughing, the Critic bowed. " I yield The point without another word ; Who ever yet a case appealed Where beauty's judgment had been heard ? 3 o THE TENT ON THE BEACH And you, my good friend, owe to me Your warmest thanks for such a plea, As true withal as sweet. For my offence Of cavil, let her words be ample recompense." Across the sea one lighthouse star, With crimson ray that came and went, Revolving on its tower afar, Looked through the doorway of the tent. While outward, over sand-slopes wet, The lamp flashed down its yellow jet On the long wash of waves, with red and green Tangles of weltering weed through the white foam- wreaths seen. u c Sing while we may-, — another day May bring enough of sorrow; ' — thus Our Traveller in his own sweet lay, His Crimean camp-song, hints to us." The lady said. " So let it be ; Sing us a song," exclaimed all three. She smiled : " I can but marvel at your choice To hear our poet's words through my poor borrowed voice." Her window opens to the bay, On glistening light or misty gray, THE TENT ON THE BEACH 31 And there at dawn and set of day In prayer she kneels. 4C Dear Lord ! " she saith, " to many a home From wind and wave the wanderers come ; I only see the tossing foam Of stranger keels. " Blown out and in by summer gales. The stately ships, with crowded sails, And sailors leaning o'er their rails, Before me glide ; They come, they go, but nevermore, Spice-laden from the Indian shore, I see his swift-winged Isidore The waves divide. u O Thou ! with whom the night is day And one the near and far away, Look out on yon gray waste, and say Where lingers he. Alive, perchance, on some lone beach Or thirsty isle beyond the reach Of man, he hears the mocking speech Of wind and sea. " O dread and cruel deep, reveal The secret which thy waves conceal, And, ye wild sea-birds, hither wheel And tell your tale. 32 THE TENT ON THE BEACH Let winds that tossed his raven hair A message from my lost one bear, — Some thought of me, a last fond prayer Or dying wail " Come, with your dreariest truth shut out The fears that haunt me round about ; O God ! I cannot bear this doubt That stifles breath. The worst is better than the dread ; Give me but leave to mourn my dead Asleep in trust and hope, instead Of life in death ! " It might have been the evening breeze That whispered in the garden trees, It might have been the sound of seas That rose and fell ; But, with her heart, if not her ear, The old loved voice she seemed to hear : " I wait to meet thee : be of cheer, For all is well ! " The sweet voice into silence went, A silence which was almost pain As through it rolled the long lament, The cadence of the mournful main. THE BROTHER OF MERCY 33 Glancing his written pages o'er, The Reader tried his part once more; Leaving the land of hackmatack and pine For Tuscan valleys glad with olive and with vine. THE BROTHER OF MERCY Piero Luca, known of all the town As the gray porter by the Pitti wall Where the noon shadows of the gardens fall, Sick and in dolor, waited to lay down His last sad burden, and beside his mat The barefoot monk of La Certosa sat. Unseen, in square and blossoming garden drifted, Soft sunset lights through green Val d' Arno sifted; Unheard, below the living shuttles shifted Backward and forth, and wove, in love or strife, In mirth or pain, the mottled web of life : But when at last came upward from the street Tinkle of bell and tread of measured feet, The sick man started, strove to rise in vain, Sinking back heavily with a moan of pain. And the monk said, " 'T is but the Brotherhood Of Mercy going on some errand good : Their black masks by the palace-wall I see." Piero answered faintly, " Woe is me ! 34 THE TENT ON THE BEACH This day for the first time in forty years In vain the bell hath sounded in my ears, Calling me with my brethren of the mask, Beggar and prince alike, to some new task Of love or pity, — haply from the street To bear a wretch plague-stricken, or, with feet Hushed to the quickened ear and feverish brain, To tread the crowded lazaretto's floors, Down the long twilight of the corridors, Midst tossing arms and faces full of pain. I loved the work : it was its own reward. I never counted on it to offset My sins, which are many, or make less my debt To the free grace and mercy of our Lord ; But somehow, father, it has come to be In these long years so much a part of me, I should not know myself, if lacking it, But with the work the worker too would die, And in my place some other self would sit Joyful or sad, — what matters, if not I ? And now all 's over. Woe is me ! " — " My son," The monk said soothingly, " thy work is done ; And no more as a servant, but the guest Of God thou enterest thy eternal rest. No toil, no tears, no sorrow for the lost, Shall mar thy perfect bliss. Thou shalt sit down Clad in white robes, and wear a golden crown THE BROTHER OF MERCY 35 Forever and forever.'' — Piero tossed On his sick-pillow : " Miserable me ! I am too poor for such grand company ; The crown would be too heavy for this gray Old head ; and God forgive me if I say It would be hard to sit there night and day, Like an image in the Tribune, doing naught With these hard hands, that all my life have wrought, Not for bread only, but for pity's sake. I 'm dull at prayers : I could not keep awake, Counting my beads. Mine 's but a crazy head, Scarce worth the saving, if all else be dead. And if one goes to heaven without a heart, God knows he leaves behind his better part. I love my fellow-men : the worst I know I would do good to. Will death change me so That I shall sit among the lazy saints, Turning a deaf ear to the sore complaints Of souls that suffer ? Why, I never yet Left a poor dog in the strada hard beset, Or ass o'erladen ! Must I rate man less Than dog or ass, in holy selfishness ? Methinks (Lord, pardon, if the thought be sin !) The world of pain were better, if therein One's heart might still be human, and desires Of natural pity drop upon its fires Some cooling tears. " 36 THE TENT ON THE BEACH Thereat the pale monk crossed His brow, and muttering, " Madman ! thou art lost ! " Took up his pyx and fled ; and, left alone, The sick man closed his eyes with a great groan That sank into a prayer, u Thy will be done ! " Then was he made aware, by soul or ear, Of somewhat pure and holy bending o'er him, And of a voice like that of her who bore him, Tender and most compassionate : " Never fear ! For heaven is love, as God himself is love ; Thy work below shall be thy work above." And when he looked, lo ! in the stern monk's place He saw the shining of an angel's face ! The Traveller broke the pause. u I 've seen The Brothers down the long street steal, Black, silent, masked, the crowd between, And felt to dorF my hat and kneel With heart, if not with knee, in prayer, For blessings on their pious care." The Reader wiped his glasses : " Friends of mine, We '11 try our home-brewed next, instead of foreign wine." THE CHANGELING 37 THE CHANGELING For the fairest maid in Hampton They needed not to search, Who saw young Anna Favor Come walking into church, — Or bringing from the meadows, At set of harvest-day, The frolic of the blackbirds, The sweetness of the hay. Now the weariest of all mothers, The saddest two years' bride, She scowls in the face of her husband, And spurns her child aside. " Rake out the red coals, goodman, — For there the child shall lie, Till the black witch comes to fetch her And both up chimney fly. " It 's never my own little daughter, It 's never my own," she said ; " The witches have stolen my Anna, And left me an imp instead. 38 THE TENT ON THE BEACH " Oh, fair and sweet was my baby, Blue eyes, and hair of gold ; But this is ugly and wrinkled, Cross, and cunning, and old. u I hate the touch of her fingers, I hate the feel of her skin ; It 's not the milk from my bosom, But my blood, that she sucks in. " My face grows sharp with the torment ; Look ! my arms are skin and bone ! Rake open the red coals, goodman, And the witch shall have her own. " She '11 come when she hears it crying, In the shape of an owl or bat, And she '11 bring us our darling Anna In place of her screeching brat." Then the goodman, Ezra Dalton, Laid his hand upon her head : " Thy sorrow is great, O woman ! I sorrow with thee," he said. " The paths to trouble are many, And never but one sure way Leads out to the light beyond it : My poor wife, let us pray." " Lead her out of this evil shadow. Out of these fancies wiW THE CHANGELING 39 Then he said to the great All-Father, " Thy daughter is weak and blind ; Let her sight come back, and clothe her Once more in her right mind. " Lead her out of this evil shadow, Out of these fancies wild ; Let the holy love of the mother Turn again to her child. " Make her lips like the lips of Mary Kissing her blessed Son ; Let her hands, like the hands of Jesus, Rest on her little one. " Comfort the soul of thy handmaid, Open her prison-door, And thine shall be all the glory And praise forevermore." Then into the face of its mother The baby looked up and smiled ; And the cloud of her soul was lifted, And she knew her little child. A beam of the slant west sunshine Made the wan face almost fair, Lit the blue eyes' patient wonder And the rings of pale gold hair. 4 o THE TENT ON THE BEACH She kissed it on lip and forehead^ She kissed it on cheek and chin, And she bared her snow-white bosom To the lips so pale and thin. Oh, fair on her bridal morning Was the maid who blushed and smiled, But fairer to Ezra Dalton Looked the mother of his child. With more than a lover's fondness He stooped to her worn young face, And the nursing child and the mother He folded in one embrace. " Blessed be God ! " he murmured. " Blessed be God ! " she said ; " For I see, who once was blinded, — I live, who once was dead. " Now mount and ride, my goodman, As thou lovest thy own soul ! Woe 's me, if my wicked fancies Be the death of Goody Cole ! " His horse he saddled and bridled, And into the night rode he, Now through the great black woodland, Now by the white-beached sea. THE CHANGELING 41 He rode through the silent clearings, He came to the ferry wide, And thrice he called to the boatman Asleep on the other side. He set his horse to the river, He swam to Newbury town, And he called up Justice Sewall In his nightcap and his gown. And the grave and worshipful justice (Upon whose soul be peace!) Set his name to the jailer's warrant For Goodwife Cole's release. Then through the night the hoof-beats Went sounding like a flail ; And Goody Cole at cockcrow Came forth from Ipswich jail. " Here is a rhyme : I hardly dare To venture on its theme worn out ; What seems so sweet by Doon and Ayr Sounds simply silly hereabout ; And pipes by lips Arcadian blown Are only tin horns at our own. Yet still the muse of pastoral walks with us, While Hosea Biglow sings, our new Theocritus." 42 THE TENT ON THE BEACH THE MAIDS OF ATTITASH * In sky and wave the white clouds swam, And the blue hills of Nottingham Through gaps of leafy green Across the lake were seen, When, in the shadow of the ash That dreams its dream in Attitash, In the warm summer weather, Two maidens sat together. They sat and watched in idle mood The gleam and shade of lake and wood ; The beach the keen light smote, The white sail of a boat ; Swan flocks of lilies shoreward lying, In sweetness, not in music, dying ; * Attitash, an Indian word signifying " huckleberry," is the name of a large and beautiful lake in the northern part of Amesbury. [In a letter to Mr. Fields, Whittier wrote : "I should like to show thee Attitash, as it is as pretty as St. Mary's Lake which Wordsworth sings, in fact a great deal prettier. The glimpse of the Pawtuck- away range of mountains in Nottingham seen across it is very fine, and it has noble groves of pines and maples and ash trees."] In the shadow of the ash THE MAIDS OF ATTITASH 43 Hardhack, and virgin's-bower, And white-spiked clethra-flower. With careless ears they heard the plash And breezy wash of Attitash, The wood-bird's plaintive cry, The locust's sharp reply. And teased the while, with playful hand, The shaggy dog of Newfoundland, Whose uncouth frolic spilled Their baskets berry-filled. Then one, the beauty of whose eyes Was evermore a great surprise, Tossed back her queenly head, And lightly laughing, said : u No bridegroom's hand be mine to hold That is not lined with yellow gold ; I tread no cottage-floor; I own no lover poor. 41 My love must come on silken wings, With bridal lights of diamond rings, Not foul with kitchen smirch, With tallow-dip for torch." 44 THE TENT ON THE BEACH The other, on whose modest head Was lesser dower of beauty shed, With look for home-hearths meet, And voice exceeding sweet, Answered, " We will not rivals be ; Take thou the gold, leave love to me ; Mine be the cottage small, And thine the rich man's hall. " I know, indeed, that wealth is good ; But lowly roof and simple food, With love that hath no doubt, Are more than gold without." Hard by a farmer hale and young His cradle in the rye-field swung, Tracking the yellow plain With windrows of ripe grain. And still, whene'er he paused to whet His scythe, the sidelong glance he met Of large dark eyes, where strove False pride and secret love. Be strong, young mower of the grain > That love shall overmatch disdain, Its instincts soon or late The heart shall vindicate. THE MAIDS OF ATTITASH 45 In blouse of gray, with fishing-rod, Half screened by leaves, a stranger trod The margin of the pond, Watching the group beyond. The supreme hours unnoted come ; Unfelt the turning tides of doom ; And so the maids laughed on, Nor dreamed what Fate had done, — Nor knew the step was Destiny's That rustled in the birchen trees, As, with their lives forecast, Fisher and mower passed. Erelong by lake and rivulet side The summer roses paled and died, And Autumn's fingers shed The maple's leaves of red. Through the long gold-hazed afternoon, Alone, but for the diving loon, The partridge in the brake, The black duck on the lake, Beneath the shadow of the ash Sat man and maid by Attitash ; And earth and air made room For human hearts to bloom. 46 THE TENT ON THE BEACH Soft spread the carpets of the sod, And scarlet-oak and golden-rod With blushes and with smiles Lit up the forest aisles. The mellow light the lake aslant, The pebbled margin's ripple-chant Attempered and low-toned, The tender mystery owned. And through the dream the lovers dreamed Sweet sounds stole in and soft lights streamed; The sunshine seemed to bless, The air was a caress. Not she who lightly laughed is there, With scornful toss of midnight hair, Her dark, disdainful eyes, And proud lip worldly-wise. Her haughty vow is still unsaid, But all she dreamed and coveted Wears, half to her surprise, The youthful farmer's guise ! With more than all her old-time pride She walks the rye-field at his side, Careless of cot or hall, Since love transfigures all. THE MAIDS OF ATTITASH 47 Rich beyond dreams, the vantage-ground Of life is gained ; her hands have found The talisman of old That changes all to gold. While she who could for love dispense With all its glittering accidents, And trust her heart alone, Finds love and gold her own. What wealth can buy or art can build Awaits her ; but her cup is filled Even now unto the brim ; Her world is love and him ! The while he heard, the Book-man drew A length of make-believing face, With smothered mischief laughing through : "Why, you shall sit in Ramsay's place, And, with his Gentle Shepherd, keep On Yankee hills immortal sheep, While love-lorn swains and maids the seas beyond Hold dreamy tryst around your huckleberry-pond." The Traveller laughed : " Sir Galahad Singing of love the Trouvere's lay ! 48 THE TENT ON THE BEACH How should he know the blindfold lad From one of Vulcan's forge-boys ? " — u Nay, He better sees who stands outside Than they who in procession ride," The Reader answered : " selectmen and squire Miss, while they make, the show that wayside folks admire. " Here is a wild tale of the North, Our travelled friend will own as one Fit for a Norland Christmas hearth And lips of Christian Andersen. They tell it in the valleys green Of the fair island he has seen, Low lying off the pleasant Swedish shore, Washed by the Baltic Sea, and watched by Elsi- nore." KALLUNDBORG CHURCH "Tie stille, barn min ! Imorgen kommer Fin, Fa'er din, Og gi'er dig Esbern Snares dine og hjerte at lege med ! " Zealand Rhyme. u Build at Kallundborg by the sea A church as stately as church may be, And there shalt thou wed my daughter fair,'' Said the Lord of Nesvek to Esbern Snare. KALLUNDBORG CHURCH 49 And the Baron laughed. But Esbern said, u Though I lose my soul, I will Helva wed ! " And off he strode, in his pride of will, To the Troll who dwelt in Ulshoi hill. " Build, O Troll, a church for me At Kallundborg by the mighty sea ; Build it stately, and build it fair, Build it quickly," said Esbern Snare. But the sly Dwarf said, " No work is wrought By Trolls of the Hills, O man, for naught. What wilt thou give for thy church so fair ? " " Set thy own price," quoth Esbern Snare. " When Kallundborg church is builded well, Thou must the name of its builder tell, Or thy heart and thy eyes must be my boon." " Build," said Esbern, " and build it soon." By night and by day the Troll wrought on ; He hewed the timbers, he piled the stone ; But day by day, as the walls rose fair, Darker and sadder grew Esbern Snare. He listened by night, he watched by day, He sought and thought, but he dared not pray ; In vain he called on the Elle-maids shy, And the Neck and the Nis gave no reply. 5 o THE TENT ON THE BEACH Of his evil bargain far and wide A rumor ran through the country-side ; And Helva of Nesvek, young and fair, Prayed for the soul of Esbern Snare. And now the church was wellnigh done ; One pillar it lacked, and one alone ; And the grim Troll muttered, " Fool thou art ! To-morrow gives me thy eyes and heart ! " By Kallundborg in black despair, Through wood and meadow, walked Esbern Snare, Till, worn and weary, the strong man sank Under the birches on Ulshoi bank. At his last day's work he heard the Troll Hammer and delve in the quarry's hole ; Before him the church stood large and fair : u I have builded my tomb," said Esbern Snare. And he closed his eyes the sight to hide, When he heard a light step at his side : " O Esbern Snare ! " a sweet voice said, " Would I might die now in thy stead ! " With a grasp by love and by fear made strong, He held her fast, and he held her long ; With the beating heart of a bird afeard, She hid her face in his flame-red beard. Now the church was wellniph done KALLUNDBORG CHURCH 51 " O love ! " he cried, " let me look to-day In thine eyes ere mine are plucked away ; Let me hold thee close, let me feel thy heart Ere mine by the Troll is torn apart ! " I sinned, O Helva, for love of thee ! Pray that the Lord Christ pardon me ! " But fast as she prayed, and faster still, Hammered the Troll in Ulshoi hill. He knew, as he wrought, that a loving heart Was somehow baffling his evil art ; For more than spell of Elf or Troll Is a maiden's prayer for her lover's soul. And Esbern listened, and caught the sound Of a Troll-wife singing underground: u To-morrow comes Fine, father thine : Lie still and hush thee, baby mine ! " Lie still, my darling ! next sunrise Thou 'It play with Esbern Snare's heart and eyes ! " " Ho ! ho ! " quoth Esbern, " is that your game ? Thanks to the Troll-wife, I know his name ! " The Troll he heard him, and hurried on To Kallundborg church with the lacking stone. 52 THE TENT ON THE BEACH " Too late, Gaffer Fine ! " cried Esbern Snare ; And Troll and pillar vanished in air ! That night the harvesters heard the sound Of a woman sobbing underground, And the voice of the Hill-Troll loud with blame Of the careless singer who told his name. Of the Troll of the Church they sing the rune By the Northern Sea in the harvest moon ; And the fishers of Zealand hear him still Scolding his wife in Ulshoi hill. And seaward over its groves of birch Still looks the tower of Kallundborg church, Where, first at its altar, a wedded pair, Stood Helva of Nesvek and Esbern Snare ! " What," asked the Traveller, " would our sires, The old Norse story-tellers, say Of sun-graved pictures, ocean wires, And smoking steamboats of to-day ? And this, O lady, by your leave, Recalls your song of yester eve : THE CABLE HYMN 53 Pray, let us have that Cable-hymn once more." u Hear, hear ! " the Book-man cried, " the lady has the floor. " These noisy waves below perhaps To such a strain will lend their ear, With softer voice and lighter lapse Come stealing up the sands to hear, And what they once refused to do For old King Knut accord to you. Nay, even the fishes shall your listeners be, As once, the legend runs, they heard St. Anthony." THE CABLE HYMN O lonely bay of Trinity, O dreary shores, give ear ! Lean down unto the white-lipped sea The voice of God to hear ! From world to world His couriers fly, Thought-winged and shod with fire; The angel of His stormy sky Rides down the sunken wire. What saith the herald of the Lord ? " The world's long strife is done ; 54 THE TENT ON THE BEACH Close wedded by that mystic cord, Its continents are one. " And one in heart, as one in blood, Shall all her peoples be ; The hands of human brotherhood Are clasped beneath the sea. " Through Orient seas, o'er Afric's plain And Asian mountains borne, The vigor of the Northern brain Shall nerve the world outworn " From clime to clime, from shore to shore, Shall thrill the magic thread ; The new Prometheus steals once more The fire that wakes the dead." Throb on, strong pulse of thunder ! beat From answering beach to beach ; Fuse nations in thy kindly heat, And melt the chains of each ! Wild terror of the sky above, Glide tamed and dumb below ! Bear gently, Ocean's carrier-dove, Thy errands to and fro. THE CABLE HYMN 55 Weave on, swift shuttle of the Lord, Beneath the deep so far, The bridal robe of earth's accord, The funeral shroud of war ! For lo ! the fall of Ocean's wall Space mocked and time outrun; And round the world the thought of all Is as the thought of one ! The poles unite, the zones agree, The tongues of striving cease ; As on the Sea of Galilee The Christ is whispering, Peace ! " Glad prophecy ! to this at last," The Reader said, " shall all things come. Forgotten be the bugle's blast, And battle-music of the drum. A little while the world may run Its old mad way, with needle-gun And ironclad, but truth, at last, shall reign : The cradle-song of Christ was never sung in vain ! Shifting his scattered papers, " Here," He said, as died the faint applause, 56 THE TENT ON THE BEACH " Is something that I found last year Down on the island known as Orr's. I had it from a fair-haired girl Who, oddly, bore the name of Pearl, (As if by some droll freak of circumstance,) Classic, or wellnigh so, in Harriet Stowe's romance." THE DEAD SHIP OF HARPSWELL What flecks the outer gray beyond The sundown's golden trail ? The white flash of a sea-bird's wing, Or gleam of slanting sail ? Let young eyes watch from Neck and Point, And sea-worn elders pray, — The ghost of what was once a ship Is sailing up the bay ! From gray sea-fog, from icy drift, From peril and from pain, The home-bound fisher greets thy lights, O hundred-harbored Maine ! But many a keel shall seaward turn, And many a sail outstand, When, tall and white, the Dead Ship looms Against the dusk of land. The ghost of what was once a shi£ THE DEAD SHIP OF HARPSWELL 57 She rounds the headland's bristling pines ; She threads the isle-set bay ; No spur of breeze can speed her on, Nor ebb of tide delay. Old men still walk the Isle of Orr Who tell her date and name, Old shipwrights sit in Freeport yards Who hewed her oaken frame. What weary doom of baffled quest, Thou sad sea-ghost, is thine ? What makes thee in the haunts of home A wonder and a sign ? No foot is on thy silent deck, Upon thy helm no hand ; No ripple hath the soundless wind That smites thee from the land ! For never comes the ship to port, Howe'er the breeze may be ; Just when she nears the waiting shore She drifts again to sea. No tack of sail, nor turn of helm, Nor sheer of veering side ; Stern-fore she drives to sea and night, Against the wind and tide. In vain o'er Harpswell Neck the star Of evening guides her in ; 58 THE TENT ON THE BEACH In vain for her the lamps are lit Within thy tower, Seguin ! In vain the harbor-boat shall hail, In vain the pilot call -> No hand shall reef her spectral sail, Or let her anchor fall. Shake, brown old wives, with dreary joy, Your gray-head hints of ill ; And, over sick-beds whispering low, Your prophecies fulfil. Some home amid yon birchen trees Shall drape its door with woe ; And slowly where the Dead Ship sails, The burial boat shall row ! From Wolf Neck and from Flying Point, From island and from main, From sheltered cove and tided creek, Shall glide the funeral train. The dead-boat with the bearers four, The mourners at her stern, — And one shall go the silent way Who shall no more return ! And men shall sigh, and women weep, Whose dear ones pale and pine, And sadly over sunset seas Await the ghostly sign. THE PALATINE 59 They know not that its sails are filled By pity's tender breath, Nor see the Angel at the helm Who steers the Ship of Death ! " Chill as a down-east breeze should be," The Book-man said. u A ghostly touch The legend has. I'm glad to see Your flying Yankee beat the Dutch." u Well, here is something of the sort Which one midsummer day I caught In Narragansett Bay, for lack of fish." u We wait," the Traveller said \ " serve hot or cold your dish." THE PALATINE* Leagues north, as fly the gull and auk, Point Judith watches with eye of hawk ; Leagues south, thy beacon flames, Montauk ! * Block Island in Long Island Sound, called by the In- dians Manisees, the isle of the little god, was the scene of a tragic incident a hundred years or more ago, when The Palatine, an emigrant ship bound for Philadelphia, driven 60 THE TENT ON THE BEACH Lonely and wind-shorn, wood-forsaken, With never a tree for Spring to waken, For tryst of lovers or farewells taken, Circled by waters that never freeze, Beaten by billow and swept by breeze, Lieth the island of Manisees, Set at the mouth of the Sound to hold The coast lights up on its turret old, Yellow with moss and sea-fog mould. Dreary the land when gust and sleet At its doors and windows howl and beat, And Winter laughs at its fires of peat ! But in summer time, when pool and pond, Held in the laps of valleys fond, Are blue as the glimpses of sea beyond ; off its course, came upon the coast at this point. A mutiny on board, followed by an inhuman desertion on the part of the crew, had brought the unhappy passengers to the verge of starvation and madness. Tradition says that wreckers on shore, after rescuing all but one of the survivors, set fire to the vessel, which was driven out to sea before a gale which had sprung up. Every twelve- month, according to the same tradition, the spectacle of a ship on fire is visible to the inhabitants of the island. THE PALATINE 61 When the hills are sweet with the brier-rose, And, hid in the warm, soft dells, unclose Flowers the mainland rarely knows ; When boats to their morning fishing go, And, held to the wind and slanting low, Whitening and darkening the small sails show, — Then is that lonely island fair; And the pale health-seeker findeth there The wine of life in its pleasant air. No greener valleys the sun invite, On smoother beaches no sea-birds light, No blue waves shatter to foam more white ! There, circling ever their narrow range, Quaint tradition and legend strange Live on unchallenged, and know no change. Old wives spinning their webs of tow, Or rocking weirdly to and fro In and out of the peat's dull glow, And old men mending their nets of twine, Talk together of dream and sign, Talk of the lost ship Palatine, — 62 THE TENT ON THE BEACH The ship that, a hundred years before, Freighted deep with its goodly store, In the gales of the equinox went ashore. The eager islanders one by one Counted the shots of her signal gun, And heard the crash when she drove right on ! Into the teeth of death she sped : (May God forgive the hands that fed The false lights over the rocky Head !) O men and brothers ! what sights were there ! White upturned faces, hands stretched in prayer ! Where waves had pity, could ye not spare ? Down swooped the wreckers, like birds of prey Tearing the heart of the ship away, And the dead had never a word to say. And then, with ghastly shimmer and shine Over the rocks and the seething brine, They burned the wreck of the Palatine. In their cruel hearts, as they homeward sped, " The sea and the rocks are dumb," they said : " There '11 be no reckoning with the dead." They fairned the wreck of the Palatine THE PALATINE 63 But the year went round, and when once more Along their foam-white curves of shore They heard the line-storm rave and roar, Behold ! again, with shimmer and shine, Over the rocks and the seething brine, The flaming wreck of the Palatine ! So, haply in fitter words than these, Mending their nets on their patient knees, They tell the legend of Manisees. Nor looks nor tones a doubt betray ; " It is known to us all," they quietly say ; We too have seen it in our day." Is there, then, no death for a word once spoken ? Was never a deed but left its token Written on tables never broken ? Do the elements subtle reflections give ? Do pictures of all the ages live On Nature's infinite negative, Which, half in sport, in malice half, She shows at times, with shudder or laugh, Phantom and shadow in photograph ? 64 THE TENT ON THE BEACH For still, on many a moonless night, From Kingston Head and from Montauk light The spectre kindles and burns in sight. Now low and dim, now clear and higher, Leaps up the terrible Ghost of Fire, Then, slowly sinking, the flames expire, And the wise Sound skippers, though skies be fine, Reef their sails when they see the sign Of the blazing wreck of the Palatine ! " A fitter tale to scream than sing," The Book-man said. " Well, fancy, then," The Reader answered, " on the wing The sea-birds shriek it, not for men, But in the ear of wave and breeze ! " The Traveller mused : " Your Manisees Is fairy-land : off* Narragansett shore Who ever saw the isle or heard its name before ? " 'T is some strange land of Flyaway, Whose dreamy shore the ship beguiles, St. Brandan's in its sea-mist gray, Or sunset loom of Fortunate Isles ! " " No ghost, but solid turf and rock ABRAHAM DAVENPORT 65 Is the good island known as Block," The Reader said. " For beauty and for ease I chose its Indian name, soft-flowing Manisees ! u But let it pass ; here is a bit Of unrhymed story, with a hint Of the old preaching mood in it, The sort of sidelong moral squint Our friend objects to, which has grown, I fear, a habit of my own. 'T was written when the Asian plague drew near, And the land held its breath and paled with sudden fear." ABRAHAM DAVENPORT* In the old days (a custom laid aside With breeches and cocked hats) the people sent Their wisest men to make the public laws. And so, from a brown homestead, where the Sound Drinks the small tribute of the Mianas, * The famous Dark Day of New England, May 19, 1780, was a physical puzzle for many years to our an- cestors, but its occurrence brought something more than philosophical speculation into the minds of those who passed through it. The incident of Colonel Abraham Davenport's sturdy protest is a matter of history. 66 THE TENT ON THE BEACH Waved over by the woods of Rippowams, And hallowed by pure lives and tranquil deaths, Stamford sent up to the councils of the State Wisdom and grace in Abraham Davenport. 'T was on a May-day of the far old year Seventeen hundred eighty, that there fell Over the bloom and sweet life of the Spring, Over the fresh earth and the heaven of noon, A horror of great darkness, like the night In day of which the Norland sagas tell, — The Twilight of the Gods. The low-hung sky Was black with ominous clouds, save where its rim Was fringed with a dull glow, like that which climbs The crater's sides from the red hell below. Birds ceased to sing, and all the barn-yard fowls Roosted ; the cattle at the pasture bars Lowed, and looked homeward ; bats on leathern wings Flitted abroad ; the sounds of labor died ; Men prayed, and women wept ; all ears grew sharp To hear the doom-blast of the trumpet shatter The black sky, that the dreadful face of Christ Might look from the rent clouds, not as He looked A loving guest at Bethany, but stern As Justice and inexorable Law. ABRAHAM DAVENPORT 67 Meanwhile in the old State House, dim as ghosts, Sat the lawgivers of Connecticut, Trembling beneath their legislative robes. " It is the Lord's Great Day ! Let us adjourn," Some said ; and then, as if with one accord, All eyes were turned to Abraham Davenport. He rose, slow cleaving with his steady voice The intolerable hush. " This well may be The Day of Judgment which the world awaits ; But be it so or not, I only know My present duty, and my Lord's command To occupy till He come. So at the post Where He hath set me in His providence, I choose, for one, to meet Him face to face, — No faithless servant frightened from my task, But ready when the Lord of the harvest calls ; And therefore, with all reverence, I would say, Let God do His work, we will see to ours. Bring in the candles." And they brought them in. Then by the flaring lights the Speaker read, Albeit with husky voice and shaking hands, An act to amend an act to regulate The shad and alewive fisheries. Whereupon Wisely and well spoke Abraham Davenport, Straight to the question, with no figures of speech Save trie ten Arab signs, yet not without 68 THE TENT ON THE BEACH The shrewd dry humor natural to the man : His awe-struck colleagues listening all the while, Between the pauses of his argument, To hear the thunder of the wrath of God Break from the hollow trumpet of the cloud. And there he stands in memory to this day, Erect, self-poised, a rugged face, half seen Against the background of unnatural dark, A witness to the ages as they pass, That simple duty hath no place for fear. He ceased : just then the ocean seemed To lift a half-faced moon in sight ; And, shoreward, o'er the waters gleamed, From crest to crest, a line of light, Such as of old, with solemn awe, The fishers by Gennesaret saw, When dry-shod o'er it walked the Son of God, Tracking the waves with light where'er his sandals trod. Silently for a space each eye Upon that sudden glory turned : Cool from the land the breeze blew by, The tent-ropes flapped, the long beach churned " Let God do His work, we will see to oicrs ' l( §t ®m &®Mi9 w®! THE WORSHIP OF NATURE 69 Its waves to foam ; on either hand Stretched, far as sight, the hills of sand With bays of marsh, and capes of bush and tree, The wood's black shore-line loomed beyond the meadowy sea. The lady rose to leave. " One song, Or hymn," they urged, " before we part." And she, with lips to which belong Sweet intuitions of all art, Gave to the winds of night a strain Which they who heard would hear again ; And to her voice the solemn ocean lent, Touching its harp of sand, a deep accompani- ment. THE WORSHIP OF NATURE The harp at Nature's advent strung Has never ceased to play ; The song the stars of morning sung Has never died away. And prayer is made, and praise is given, By all things near and far; The ocean looketh up to heaven, And mirrors every star. 70 THE TENT ON THE BEACH Its waves are kneeling on the strand, As kneels the human knee, Their white locks bowing to the sand, The priesthood of the sea ! They pour their glittering treasures forth, Their gifts of pearl they bring, And all the listening hills of earth Take up the song they sing. The green earth sends her incense up From many a mountain shrine ; From folded leaf and dewy cup She pours her sacred wine. The mists above the morning rills Rise white as wings of prayer ; The altar-curtains of the hills Are sunset's purple air. The winds with hymns of praise are loud, Or low with sobs of pain, — The thunder-organ of the cloud, The dropping tears of rain. With drooping head and branches crossed The twilight forest grieves, Or speaks with tongues of Pentecost From all its sunlit leaves. THE WORSHIP OF NATURE 71 The blue sky is the temple's arch, Its transept earth and air, The music of its starry march The chorus of a prayer. So Nature keeps the reverent frame With which her years began, And all her signs and voices shame The prayerless heart of man. The singer ceased. The moon's white rays Fell on the rapt, still face of her. " Allah il Allah ! He hath praise From all things," said the Traveller. " Oft from the desert's silent nights, And mountain hymns of sunset lights, My heart has felt rebuke, as in his tent The Moslem's prayer has shamed my Christian knee unbent." He paused, and lo ! far, faint, and slow The bells in Newbury's steeples tolled The twelve dead hours ; the lamp burned low ; The singer sought her canvas fold. One sadly said, " At break of day We strike our tent and go our way." But one made answer cheerily, " Never fear, We '11 pitch this tent of ours in type another year." THE EXILES The incidents upon which the following bal- lad has its foundation occurred about the year 1660. Thomas Macy was one of the first, if not the first white settler of Nantucket. The career of Macy is briefly but carefully outlined in James S. Pike's The New Puritan. THE EXILES THE goodman sat beside his door, One sultry afternoon, With his young wife singing at his side An old and goodly tune. A glimmer of heat was in the air, — The dark green woods were still ; And the skirts of a heavy thunder-cloud Hung over the western hill. Black, thick, and vast arose that cloud Above the wilderness, As some dark world from upper air Were stooping over this. At times the solemn thunder pealed, And all was still again, Save a low murmur in the air Of coming wind and rain. Just as the first big rain-drop fell, A weary stranger came, And stood before the farmer's door, With travel soiled and lame. 76 THE EXILES Sad seemed he, yet sustaining hope Was in his quiet glance, And peace, like autumn's moonlight, clothed His tranquil countenance, — A look, like that his Master wore In Pilate's council-hall : It told of wrongs, but of a love Meekly forgiving all. " Friend ! wilt thou give me shelter here ? " The stranger meekly said ; And, leaning on his oaken staff, The goodman's features read. " My life is hunted, — evil men Are following in my track ; The traces of the torturer's whip Are on my aged back ; M And much, I fear, 't will peril thee Within thy doors to take A hunted seeker of the Truth, Oppressed for conscience' sake.' 3 Oh, kindly spoke the goodman's wife, " Come in, old man ! " quoth she, " We will not leave thee to the storm, Whoever thou mayst be." THE EXILES 77 Then came the aged wanderer in, And silent sat him down ; While all within grew dark as night Beneath the storm-cloud's frown. But while the sudden lightning's blaze Filled every cottage nook, And with the jarring thunder-roll The loosened casements shook, A heavy tramp of horses' feet Came sounding up the lane, And half a score of horse, or more, Came plunging through the rain. "Now, Goodman Macy, ope thy door, We would not be house-breakers ; A rueful deed thou 'st done this day, In harboring banished Quakers." Out looked the cautious goodman then, With much of fear and awe, For there, with broad wig drenched with rain, The parish priest he saw. " Open thy door, thou wicked man, And let thy pastor in, And give God thanks, if forty stripes Repay thy deadly sin." 78 THE EXILES " What seek ye ? " quoth the goodman ; " The stranger is my guest ; He is worn with toil and grievous wrong, — » Pray let the old man rest." " Now, out upon thee, canting knave ! " And strong hands shook the door. " Believe me, Macy," quoth the priest, " Thou 'It rue thy conduct sore." Then kindled Macy's eye of fire : " No priest who walks the earth, Shall pluck away the stranger-guest Made welcome to my hearth." Down from his cottage wall he caught The matchlock, hotly tried At Preston-pans and Marston-moor, By fiery Ireton's side; Where Puritan and Cavalier With shout and psalm contended ; And Rupert's oath, and Cromwell's prayer, With battle-thunder blended. Up rose the ancient stranger then : " My spirit is not free To bring the wrath and violence Of evil men on thee ; THE EXILES 79 " And for thyself, I pray forbear, Bethink thee of thy Lord, Who healed again the smitten ear, And sheathed His follower's sword. " I go, as to the slaughter led. Friends of the poor, farewell ! " Beneath his hand the oaken door Back on its hinges fell. " Come forth, old graybeard, yea and nay," The reckless scoffers cried, As to a horseman's saddle-bow The old man's arms were tied. And of his bondage hard and long In Boston's crowded jail, Where suffering woman's prayer was heard, With sickening childhood's wail, It suits not with our tale to tell ; Those scenes have passed away ; Let the dim shadows of the past Brood o'er that evil day. " Ho, sheriff! " quoth the ardent priest, u Take Goodman Macy too ; The sin of this day's heresy His back or purse shall rue." 80 THE EXILES " Now, goodwife, haste thee ! " Macy cried. She caught his manly arm ; Behind, the parson urged pursuit, With outcry and alarm. Ho ! speed the Macys, neck or naught, — The river-course was near ; The plashing on its pebbled shore Was music to their ear. A gray rock, tasselled o'er with birch, Above the waters hung, And at its base, with every wave, A small light wherry swung. A leap — they gain the boat — and there The goodman wields his oar; " 111 luck betide them all," he cried, " The laggards on the shore." Down through the crashing underwood, The burly sheriff came : — "Stand, Goodman Macy, yield thyself; Yield in the King's own name." " Now out upon thy hangman's face ! " Bold Macy answered then, — " Whip women, on the village green, But meddle not with men." "fgo, as to the slaughter led" THE EXILES 81 The priest came panting to the shore, His grave cocked hat was gone ; Behind him, like some owl's nest, hung His wig upon a thorn. " Come back ! come back ! " the parson cried, "The church's curse beware." " Curse, an thou wilt," said Macy, " but Thy blessing prithee spare." " Vile scoffer ! " cried the baffled priest, " Thou 'It yet the gallows see." " Who 's born to be hanged will not be drowned," Quoth Macy, merrily ; u And so, sir sheriff and priest, good-by ! " He bent him to his oar, And the small boat glided quietly From the twain upon the shore. Now in the west the heavy clouds Scattered and fell asunder, While feebler came the rush of rain, And fainter growled the thunder. And through the broken clouds, the sun Looked out serene and warm, Painting its holy symbol-light Upon the passing storm. 82 THE EXILES Oh, beautiful ! that rainbow span, O'er dim Crane-neck was bended ; One bright foot touched the eastern hills, And one with ocean blended. By green Pentucket's southern slope The small boat glided fast ; The watchers of the Block-house saw The strangers as they passed. That night a stalwart garrison Sat shaking in their shoes, To hear the dip of Indian oars, The glide of birch canoes. The fisher-wives of Salisbury — The men were all away — Looked out to see the stranger oar Upon their waters play. Deer Island's rocks and fir-trees threw Their sunset shadows o'er them, And Newbury's spire and weathercock Peered o'er the pines before them. Around the Black Rocks, on their left, The marsh lay broad and green ; And on their right with dwarf shrubs crowned, Plum Island's hills were seen. THE EXILES 83 With skilful hand and wary eye The harbor-bar was crossed ; A plaything of the restless wave, The boat on ocean tossed. The glory of the sunset heaven On land and water lay ; On the steep hills of Agawam, On cape, and bluff, and bay. They passed the gray rocks of Cape Ann, And Gloucester's harbor-bar; The watch-fire of the garrison Shone like a setting star. How brightly broke the morning On Massachusetts Bay ! Blue wave, and bright green island, Rejoicing in the day. On passed the bark in safety Round isle and headland steep ; No tempest broke above them, No fog-cloud veiled the deep. Far round the bleak and stormy Cape The venturous Macy passed, And on Nantucket's naked isle Drew up his boat at last. 84 THE EXILES And how, in log-built cabin, They braved the rough sea-weather; And there, in peace and quietness, Went down life's vale together; How others drew around them, And how their fishing sped, Until to every wind of heaven Nantucket's sails were spread ; How pale Want alternated With Plenty's golden smile ; Behold, is it not written In the annals of the isle ? And yet that isle remaineth A refuge of the free, As when true-hearted Macy Beheld it from the sea. Free as the winds that winnow Her shrubless hills of sand, Free as the waves that batter Along her yielding land. Than hers, at duty's summons, No loftier spirit stirs, Nor falls o'er human suffering A readier tear than hers. THE EXILES 85 God bless the sea-beat island ! And grant forevermore, That charity and freedom dwell As now upon her shore ! BARCLAY OF URY Among the earliest converts to the doctrines of Friends in Scotland was Barclay of Ury, an old and distinguished soldier, who had fought under Gustavus Adolphus, in Germany. As a Quaker, he became the object of persecution and abuse at the hands of the magistrates and the populace. None bore the indignities of the mob with greater patience and nobleness of soul than this once proud gentleman and soldier. One of his friends, on an occasion of uncommon rudeness, lamented that he should be treated so harshly in his old age who had been so honored before. " I find more satisfaction," said Barclay, "as well as honor, in being thus insulted for my religious principles, than when, a few years ago, it was usual for the ma- gistrates, as I passed the city of Aberdeen, to meet me on the road and conduct me to public enter- tainment in their hall, and then escort me out again, to gain my favor." BARCLAY OF URY UP the streets of Aberdeen, By the kirk and college green, Rode the Laird of Ury ; Close behind him, close beside, Foul of mouth and evil-eyed, Pressed the mob in fury. Flouted him the drunken churl, Jeered at him the serving-girl, Prompt to please her master ; And the begging carlin, late Fed and clothed at Ury's gate, Cursed him as he passed her. Yet, with calm and stately mien, Up the streets of Aberdeen Came he slowly riding; And, to all he saw and heard, Answering not with bitter word, Turning not for chiding. Came a troop with broadswords swinging, Bits and bridles sharply ringing, Loose and free and froward ; go BARCLAY OF URY Quoth the foremost, " Ride him down ! Push him ! prick him ! through the town Drive the Quaker coward ! " But from out the thickening crowd Cried a sudden voice and loud : " Barclay ! Ho! a Barclay ! " And the old man at his side Saw a comrade, battle tried, Scarred and sunburned darkly ; Who with ready weapon bare, Fronting to the troopers there, Cried aloud : " God save us, Call ye coward him who stood Ankle deep in Liitzen's blood, With the brave Gustavus ? " " Nay, I do not need thy sword, Comrade mine," said Ury's lord ; " Put it up, I pray thee : Passive to His holy will, Trust I in my Master still, Even though He slay me. " Pledges of thy love and faith, Proved on many a field of death, Not by me are needed." BARCLAY OF URY 91 Marvelled much that henchman bold, That his laird, so stout of old, Now so meekly pleaded. w Woe 's the day ! " he sadly said, With a slowly shaking head, And a look of pity ; " Ury's honest lord reviled, Mock of knave and sport of child, In his own good city ! " Speak the word, and, master mine, As we charged on Tilly's line, And his Walloon lancers, Smiting through their midst we'll teach Civil look and decent speech To these boyish prancers ! " " Marvel not, mine ancient friend, Like beginning, like the end," Quoth the Laird of Ury ; " Is the sinful servant more Than his gracious Lord who bore Bonds and stripes in Jewry ? " Give me joy that in His name I can bear, with patient frame, All these vain ones offer ; 92 BARCLAY OF URY While for them He suffereth long, Shall I answer wrong with wrong, Scoffing with the scoffer ? a Happier I, with loss of all, Hunted, outlawed, held in thrall, With few friends to greet me, Than when reeve and squire were seen, Riding out from Aberdeen, With bared heads to meet me ; "When each goodwife, o'er and o'er, Blessed me as I passed her door ; And the snooded daughter, Through her casement glancing down Smiled on him who bore renown From red fields of slaughter. u Hard to feel the stranger's scoff, Hard the old friend's falling off, Hard to learn forgiving; But the Lord His own rewards, And His love with theirs accords, Warm and fresh and living. " Through this dark and stormy night Faith beholds a feeble light Up the blackness streaking; BARCLAY OF URY 93 Knowing God's own time is best, In a patient hope I rest For the full day-breaking ! " So the Laird of Ury said, Turning slow his horse's head Towards the Tolbooth prison, Where, through iron gates, he heard Poor disciples of the Word Preach of Christ arisen ! Not in vain, Confessor old, Unto us the tale is told Of thy day of trial ; Every age on him who strays From its broad and beaten ways Pours its seven-fold vial. Happy he whose inward ear Angel comfortings can hear, O'er the rabble's laughter ; And while Hatred's fagots burn, Glimpses through the smoke discern Of the good hereafter. Knowing this, that never yet Share of Truth was vainly set In the world's wide fallow ; 94 BARCLAY OF URY After hands shall sow the seed, After hands from hill and mead Reap the harvests yellow. Thus, with somewhat of the Seer, Must the moral pioneer From the Future borrow ; Clothe the waste with dreams of grain, And, on midnight's sky of rain, Paint the golden morrow ! THE KING'S MISSIVE 1661 This ballad, originally written for The Memo- rial History of Boston, describes, with pardonable poetic license, a memorable incident in the annals of the city. The interview between Shattuck and the Governor took place, I have since learned, in the residence of the latter, and not in the Coun- cil Chamber. The publication of the ballad led to some discussion as to the historical truthfulness of the picture, but I have seen no reason to rub out any of the figures or alter the lines and colors. THE KING'S MISSIVE 1661 UNDER the great hill sloping bare To cove and meadow and Common lot, In his council chamber and oaken chair, Sat the worshipful Governor Endicott. A grave, strong man, who knew no peer In the pilgrim land, where he ruled in fear Of God, not man, and for good or ill Held his trust with an iron will. He had shorn with his sword the cross from out The flag, and cloven the May-pole down, Harried the heathen round about, And whipped the Quakers from town to town. Earnest and honest, a man at need To burn like a torch for his own harsh creed, He kept with the flaming brand of his zeal The gate of the holy common weal. His brow was clouded, his eye was stern, With a look of mingled sorrow and wrath ; " Woe 's me ! " he murmured : " at every turn The pestilent Quakers are in my path ! 98 THE KING'S MISSIVE Some we have scourged, and banished some, Some hanged, more doomed, and still they come, Fast as the tide of yon bay sets in, Sowing their heresy's seed of sin. " Did we count on this ? Did we leave behind The graves of our kin, the comfort and ease Of our English hearths and homes, to find Troublers of Israel such as these ? Shall I spare ? Shall I pity them ? God forbid I I will do as the prophet to Agag did : They come to poison the wells of the Word, I will hew them in pieces before the Lord ! " The door swung open, and Rawson the clerk Entered, and whispered under breath, u There waits below for the hangman's work A fellow banished on pain of death — Shattuck of Salem, unhealed of the whip, Brought over in Master Goldsmith's ship At anchor here in a Christian port, With freight of the devil and all his sort ! " Twice and thrice on the chamber floor Striding fiercely from wall to wall, " The Lord do so to me and more," The Governor cried, " if I hang not all ! Bring hither the Quaker." Calm, sedate, THE KING'S MISSIVE 99 With the look of a man at ease with fate, Into that presence grim and dread Came Samuel Shattuck, with hat on head. " Off with the knave's hat ! " An angry hand Smote down the offence ; but the wearer said, With a quiet smile, " By the king's command I bear his message and stand in his stead." In the Governor's hand a missive he laid With the royal arms on its seal displayed, And the proud man spake as he gazed thereat, Uncovering, " Give Mr. Shattuck his hat." He turned to the Quaker, bowing low, — "The king commandeth your friends' release; Doubt not he shall be obeyed, although To his subjects' sorrow and sin's increase. What he here enjoineth, John Endicott, His loyal servant, questioneth not. You are free ! God grant the spirit you own May take you from us to parts unknown." So the door of the jail was open cast, And, like Daniel, out of the lion's den Tender youth and girlhood passed, With age-bowed women and gray-locked men. And the voice of one appointed to die Was lifted in praise and thanks on high, ioo THE KING'S MISSIVE And the little maid from New Netherlands Kissed, in her joy, the doomed man's hands. And one, whose call was to minister To the souls in prison, beside him went, An ancient woman, bearing with her The linen shroud for his burial meant. For she, not counting her own life dear, In the strength of a love that cast out fear, Had watched and served where her brethren died, Like those who waited the cross beside. One moment they paused on their way to look On the martyr graves by the Common side, And much scourged Wharton of Salem took His burden of prophecy up and cried : " Rest, souls of the valiant ! Not in vain Have ye borne the Master's cross of pain ; Ye have fought the fight, ye are victors crowned, With a fourfold chain ye have Satan bound ! " The autumn haze lay soft and still On wood and meadow and upland farms ; On the brow of Snow Hill the great windmill Slowly and lazily swung its arms ; Broad in the sunshine stretched away, With its capes and islands, the turquoise bay ; And over water and dusk of pines Blue hills lifted their faint outlines. THE KING'S MISSIVE 101 The topaz leaves of the walnut glowed, The sumach added its crimson fleck, And double in air and water showed The tinted maples along the Neck ; Through frost flower clusters of pale star-mist, And gentian fringes of amethyst, And royal plumes of golden-rod, The grazing cattle on Centry trod. But as they who see not, the Quakers saw The world about them ; they only thought With deep thanksgiving and pious awe On the great deliverance God had wrought. Through lane and alley the gazing town Noisily followed them up and down ; Some with scoffing and brutal jeer, Some with pity and words of cheer. One brave voice rose above the din. Upsall, gray with his length of days, Cried from the door of his Red Lion Inn : " Men of Boston, give God the praise ! No more shall innocent blood call down The bolts of wrath on your guilty town. The freedom of worship, dear to you, Is dear to all, and to all is due. " I see the vision of days to come, When your beautiful City of the Bay 102 THE KING'S MISSIVE Shall be Christian liberty's chosen home, And none shall his neighbor's rights gainsay. The varying notes of worship shall blend And as one great prayer to God ascend, And hands of mutual charity raise Walls of salvation and gates of praise." So passed the Quakers through Boston town, Whose painful ministers sighed to see The walls of their sheep-fold falling down, And wolves of heresy prowling free. But the years went on, and brought no wrong ; With milder counsels the State grew strong, As outward Letter and inward Light Kept the balance of truth aright. The Puritan spirit, perishing not, To Concord's yeomen the signal sent, And spake in the voice of the cannon-shot That severed the chains of a continent. With its gentler mission of peace and good-will The thought of the Quaker is living still, And the freedom of soul he prophesied Is gospel and law where the martyrs died. HOW THE WOMEN WENT FROM DOVER The following is a copy of the warrant issued by Major Waldron, of Dover, in 1662. The Quakers, as was their wont, prophesied against him, and saw, as they supposed, the fulfilment of their prophecy when, many years after, he was killed by the Indians. To the constables of Dover, Hampton, Salisbury, Neivbury, Roivley, Ipswich, Wenham, Lynn, Boston, Roxbury, Ded- ham, and until these vagabond Quakers are carried out of this jurisdiction. You, and every one of you, are required, in the King's Majesty's name, to take these vagabond Quakers, Anne Colman, Mary Tomkins, and Alice Ambrose, and make them fast to the cart's tail and driving the cart through your several towns, to whip them upon their naked backs not exceeding ten stripes apiece on each of them, in each town 5 and so to convey them from constable to constable till they are out of this jurisdiction, as you will answer it at your peril j and this shall be your warrant. Richard Waldron. Dated at Dover, December 22, 1662. This warrant was executed only in Dover and Hampton. At Salisbury the constable refused to obey it. He was sustained by the town's peo- ple, who were under the influence of Major Robert Pike, the leading man in the lower val- ley of the Merrimac, who stood far in advance of his time, as an advocate of religious freedom and an opponent of ecclesiastical authority. He had the moral courage to address an able and manly letter to the court at Salem, remonstrating against the witchcraft trials. HOW THE WOMEN WENT FROM DOVER THE tossing spray of Cocheco's fall Hardened to ice on its rocky wall, As through Dover town in the chill, gray dawn, Three women passed, at the cart-tail drawn ! Bared to the waist, for the north wind's grip And keener sting of the constable's whip, The blood that followed each hissing blow Froze as it sprinkled the winter snow. Priest and ruler, boy and maid Followed the dismal cavalcade ; And from door and window, open thrown, Looked and wondered gaffer and crone. "God is our witness," the victims cried, "We suffer for Him who for all men died ; The wrong ye do has been done before : We bear the stripes that the Master bore ! " And thou, O Richard Waldron, for whom We hear the feet of a coming doom, 106 HOW THE WOMEN On thy cruel heart and thy hand of wrong Vengeance is sure, though it tarry long. " In the light of the Lord, a flame we see Climb and kindle a proud roof-tree ; And beneath it an old man lying dead, With stains of blood on his hoary head." u Smite, Goodman Hate-Evil ! — harder still ! " The magistrate cried, " lay on with a will ! Drive out of their bodies the Father of Lies, Who through them preaches and prophesies ! " So into the forest they held their way, By winding river and frost-rimmed bay, Over wind-swept hills that felt the beat Of the winter sea at their icy feet. The Indian hunter, searching his traps, Peered stealthily through the forest gaps ; And the outlying settler shook his head, — "They 're witches going to jail," he said. At last a meeting-house came in view ; A blast on his horn the constable blew ; And the boys of Hampton cried up and down "The Quakers have come!" to the wondering town. Into the forest they held their way WENT FROM DOVER 107 From barn and woodpile the goodman came ; The goodwife quitted her quilting frame, With her child at her breast ; and, hobbling slow, The grandam followed to see the show. Once more the torturing whip was swung, Once more keen lashes the bare flesh stung. " Oh, spare ! they are bleeding ! " a little maid cried, And covered her face the sight to hide. A murmur ran round the crowd : " Good folks," Quoth the constable, busy counting the strokes, u No pity to wretches like these is due, They have beaten the gospel black and blue ! " Then a pallid woman, in wild-eyed fear, With her wooden noggin of milk drew near. " Drink, poor hearts ! " a rude hand smote Her draught away from a parching throat. " Take heed," one whispered, " they '11 take your cow For fines, as they took your horse and plough, And the bed from under you." " Even so," She said ; " they are cruel as death, I know." Then on they passed, in the waning day, Through Seabrook woods, a weariful way; 108 HOW THE WOMEN By great salt meadows and sand-hills bare, And glimpses of blue sea here and there. By the meeting-house in Salisbury town The sufferers stood, in the red sundown, Bare for the lash ! O pitying Night, Drop swift thy curtain and hide the sight ! With shame in his eye and wrath on his lip The Salisbury constable dropped his whip. " This warrant means murder foul and red ; Cursed is he who serves it," he said. " Show me the order, and meanwhile strike A blow at your peril ! " said Justice Pike. Of all the rulers the land possessed, Wisest and boldest was he and best. He scoffed at witchcraft ; the priest he met As man meets man ; his feet he set Beyond his dark age, standing upright, Soul-free, with his face to the morning light. He read the warrant: "These convey From our precincts ; at every town on the way Give each ten lashes" " God judge the brute ! I tread his order under my foot ! WENT FROM DOVER 109 "Cut loose these poor ones and let them go; Come what will of it, all men shall know No warrant is good, though backed by the Crown, For whipping women in Salisbury town ! " The hearts of the villagers, half released From creed of terror and rule of priest, By a primal instinct owned the right Of human pity in law's despite. For ruth and chivalry only slept, His Saxon manhood the yeoman kept ; Quicker or slower, the same blood ran In the Cavalier and the Puritan. The Quakers sank on their knees in praise And thanks. A last, low sunset blaze Flashed out from under a cloud, and shed A golden glory on each bowed head. The tale is one of an evil time, When souls were fettered and thought was crjme, And heresy's whisper above its breath Meant shameful scourging and bonds and death ! What marvel, that hunted and sorely tried, Even woman rebuked and prophesied, no HOW THE WOMEN WENT And soft words rarely answered back The grim persuasion of whip and rack ! If her cry from the whipping-post and jail Pierced sharp as the Kenite's driven nail, O woman, at ease in these happier days, Forbear to judge of thy sister's ways ! How much thy beautiful life may owe To her faith and courage thou canst not know, Nor how from the paths of thy calm retreat She smoothed the thorns with her bleeding feet.